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Mulberry Silk vs Silk: What Is the Difference?

The terms “silk” and “Mulberry silk” are like twin siblings with subtle distinctions that can cause confusion. You might even hesitate to purchase Mulberry silk, fearing it’s a fake silk fabric. This article aims to dispel your doubts about the definitions and differences between silk and Mulberry silk. By the end, you’ll have a deeper understanding of these fabrics and be equipped to make informed decisions when shopping for silk products.

What Is Mulberry Silk?

Mulberry silk, as the name suggests, comes from the cocoons made by Mulberry silkworms. These silkworms hold a rich history of domestication dating back to ancient times. Renowned for its remarkable softness and comfort, Mulberry silk has better quality than regular silk. That’s why you’ll find that most silk products in the market are made from Mulberry silk. However, that doesn’t mean all silk products are made from Mulberry silk.

What Is Silk?

The term “silk” is a broad category for fabrics that are woven entirely from pure silk fibers. While people often use the term “silk” to refer to Mulberry silk, it’s important to understand that Mulberry silk is just one of the raw materials utilized in silk fabric production. In fact, silk fabrics can be sourced from a variety of raw materials, such as Tussar silk, Muga silk, and Eri silk.

Mulberry Silk vs Silk

Source

  • Mulberry silk is produced by Bombyx mori, which were originally wild silkworms that inhabited trees and fed on mulberry leaves. They were domesticated by humans over 5,000 years ago. The world’s largest producer of mulberry cocoons is China.
  • Tussar silk is produced by Antheraea pernyi, a silkworm that is artificially reared on oak trees in the wild and feeds on oak leaves. Apart from China, India, Japan, and Sri Lanka are also its main production areas.
  • Eri silk is produced by Philosamia ricini, a highly adaptable wild silkworm that originates from the Assamese forests of northeastern India. They feed on different wild leaves such as castor leaves, cassava leaves, and more.
  • Muga silk is the silk produced by silkworms named Som and Soalu in Assam, India. Just like Bordeaux refers to wine that is produced in a particular region, only wild silk produced in Assam, India can be called Muga silk.

Appearance

  • Mulberry silk is a pure white or creamy white hue with a luxurious sheen. Its slight color variation is due to the natural pigmentation absorbed by the Mulberry silkworms as they feed on mulberry tree leaves. In addition to its beautiful appearance, Mulberry silk acquires longer fiber length and delicate, uniform threads.
  • Tussar silk is available in yellow-brown or gray-brown because of the different treatments and chemicals used. It doesn’t have the same shine as Mulberry silk, requiring bleaching to enhance its appearance. After treatment, the raw silk looks light yellow. The silk fibers are shorter and not evenly thick, giving it a rougher texture.
  • Eri silk has a unique off-white or reddish color and a matte finish, distinguishing it from the lustrous Mulberry silk. It is finer than Mulberry silk and is an ideal raw material for spun silk spinning, even though it cannot be reeled.
  • Muga silk, also known as golden silk, is famous for its striking golden color. However, due to different leaves that the silkworms consume or seasonal changes, the silk can also have a light brown color.

Feel and Touch

Mulberry silk’s luxurious feel comes from its fine fibers and tightly woven structure, resulting in a silky touch. Comparatively, Muga silk shares this smoothness and luster, though it has a slight cotton-like texture. On the other hand, both Tussar silk and Eri silk offer a rougher feel akin to linen fabric, yet they maintain a gentle softness and flexibility.

Quality

Mulberry silk is widely considered the highest quality due to its versatility and widespread use across various applications. Muga silk also ranks among the top-quality silks, renowned for its stunning golden luster and exceptional strength. Eri silk, while of good quality, has a slightly rougher texture compared to Mulberry and Muga silk. In contrast, Tussar silk is perceived as having a more average quality in comparison to the other silk types.

Strength

Muga silk is known for its exceptional tensile strength, making it a durable and long-lasting option. Mulberry silk, with its long fibers, offers excellent elasticity and strength, allowing it to stretch without breaking easily. On the other hand, Tussar silk, with fibers almost 9 times thicker than Mulberry silk, is as thick as a hair strand, and even stronger. Lastly, Eri silk, while sturdy and durable, doesn’t quite match the strength of Mulberry silk.

Price

Muga silk is the most expensive type among these silk fabrics due to its limited resources and historical association with royalty. Conversely, Tussar silk tends to be the most affordable among them, attributed to its plain appearance and limited versatility.

The price ranking of these silks is as follows: Muga silk>Eri silk>Mulberry silk>Tussar silk.

FAQs

  • Is Mulberry silk better than regular silk?

Yes, Mulberry silk is better than regular silk for its exceptional quality.

  • Is 100% Mulberry silk real silk?

Yes, 100% Mulberry silk is real silk.

  • What is special about Mulberry silk?

Mulberry silk remains the most widely used type of silk due to its long and uniform fibers and exceptional quality. It is also sought-after due to its luxurious appearance and durable property.

  • Which silk is more expensive?

Mulberry silk is more expensive. Raising domestic silkworms requires significant effort and labor. Other high-quality silk varieties, such as Muga silk, may also command a higher price due to its scarcity and great strength.

Conclusion

In summary, Mulberry silk fabric is a type of silk fabric, but it’s just one of many options available. Each silk fabric boasts distinct characteristics, catering to different tastes. Whether you prefer the smooth and shiny finish of Mulberry silk or the luxurious texture of Muga silk, there’s a silk fabric that suits your preferences. At Sinosilk, we offer not only customized silk products but also a wide selection of silk fabrics in high quality.

More Resources

Silk vs Satin: What’s the Difference and Which is Better?

Silk vs Cotton: A Comprehensive Comparison

Polyester vs Silk: Which is the Best for You?

Viscose vs Silk – The Ultimate Comparison

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